Another Incredible Year of Investing in Innovation!
By Jessica Dieken
Did you know that innovation and entrepreneurship are closely related? In fact, it is through a student’s experience using innovative education tools that an entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured. It is through those hands-on, tactical experiences that students learn how to build, experiment, fail and persevere through challenges and set backs. When a student watches their design and idea come to life, they are learning how to solve problems in an innovative way – which is the foundation of entrepreneurial thinking! Who knows – maybe they design a solution to a world problem; or the create a product that they could someday bring to market.
That is why we are so passionate about investing in projects and spaces that provide students with the tools and experiences they need to foster an entrepreneurial mindset. We call these spaces Innovation Stations!What is really cool about Innovation Stations is how the spaces can be used across all subject areas, providing students with a new way of learning not just STEM subjects, but also reading, history and language arts. Innovation Stations also give students the opportunity to identify ways to solve social problems and problems in their communities. Hunger, water scarcity, and homelessness are just some of the social challenges we see in our communities. But when you bring these challenges to students and ask them to develop solutions, an Innovation Station is the perfect space for them to bring those solutions to life!
Innovation Stations are a great place for students to develop and hone an entrepreneurial mindset. When students are able to watch their ideas come to life in a tangible way, a different way of thinking is developed! Perseverance, resilience, collaboration, learning how to fail and make adjustments and clear communication are just some of the skills that students gain and refine when working in an Innovation Station.
Each Innovation Station that we are able to fund each year is unique but they all have one thing in common – these Innovation Stations are designed to help students learn in new and exciting ways, encouraging them to pursue their passions and ideas while overcoming challenges along the way.
And thanks to the generosity of Otter Products employees, we were able to provide over $174,000 in funding for Innovation Stations! There were 30 Innovation Station Fund applications from amazing schools and nonprofits in Northern Colorado and San Diego. Each application detailed their vision for creating their own Innovation Station, where students would design, explore and create! Our grant review committee had the privilege of reviewing each application and selected 13 schools to receive grants from this year’s Innovation Station Fund!
Congratulations to the following schools:
- Pomerado Elementary in San Diego, Calif.
- Tierrasanta Elementary in San Diego, Calif.
- Olander Elementary in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Colorado Early Colleges Middle School in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Eyestone Elementary in Wellington, Colo.
- Windsor Charter Academy in Windsor, Colo.
- Putnam Elementary in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Coyote Ridge Elementary in Loveland, Colo.
- Loveland High School in Loveland, Colo.
- Kruse Elementary in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Lopez Elementary in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Fort Collins High School in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Compass Community Collaborative in Fort Collins, Colo.
We are so excited to watch these Innovation Station grow! Check out more pictures of this year’s Innovation Station Fund recipients and congratulation them on their commitment to inspiring kids to change the world!